17 July 2016

Atletico Madrid betting future on six wonderkids

Nicolas Schiappacasse joining hungry, young squad

My piece for MARCA

With a FIFA transfer ban looking imminent, Atletico Madrid have been keen to boost their ranks by bringing in younger players who can be schooled in the ways of Diego Simeone.

Currently in town is the Uruguayan youngster Nicolas Schiappacasse who is not officially an Atletico player yet, but has just arrived from hometown team Club Atletico River Plate with their permission while Los Colchoneros process the deal. It's expected to be sorted soon, and his new Argentine boss is looking forward to running the rule over the 17-year-old.

Getting in players at such a young age allows them to assimilate to the hard work and dedication ethics required by Atleti and this is very much the case with 20-year-old Santos Borre, and a recent signing from Pacos de Ferreira, 19-year-old Diego Jota, an explosive talent who excelled in Portugal last season.

Last January the club moved to bring in Matias Kranevitter from River Plate and the promising midfielder has gone on a season-long loan to Sevilla to get more first-team football.

Then there's the 21-year-old Ghanaian midfielder Bernard Mensah, who went out on loan to Getafe last season and is now training with the senior squad.

Atletico are also looking into signing the 20-year-old Argentine goalkeeper Axel Werner from Atletico de Rafaela, following a common rule of signing young keepers. Jan Oblak was only a year older when he signed for the club and of course David De Gea was already well-established at that age.

Already in Madrid to add to these six starlets are Angel Correa, who eventually signed up at age 19 having been derailed with a heart issue, and José Giménez, who arrived at 18 and has proved himself to be an exceptional talent since getting consistent first-team opportunities.


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